Revelstoke-d: The British Columbia destination offers unparalleled access to the powder of your dreams
With 5,620 feet of vertical, 3,121 acres of skiable terrain and 400 inches of average annual snowfall, Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR), in British Columbia, Canada, is a certified world-class ski area. Unlike most top-name resorts, though, The Stoke lacks the sweeping crowds. Given its somewhat remote location—a nearly five-hour drive from Calgary, Alberta or a two-and-a-half-hour commute from Kelowna International Airport—the place attracts only the most diehard skiers. That’s because, while the lift lines certainly aren’t monstrous, the terrain is. And when you consider the skiing possibilities outside of the resort boundaries, it’s limitless.
“It’s a dream destination,” says 27-year-old Lexi duPont, the pro skier who has spent three-plus months in Revelstoke each winter since the first time she visited, back in 2008. “It’s a super awesome community, there’s incredible nightlife and ski terrain to rival any other spot in North America, with legendary snow to top it off… it’s the perfect combination.”
Smack in the middle of BC’s Selkirk and Monashee ranges, Revelstoke is arguably the destination on the famed Powder Highway. That’s in part because its snow is of the sort that attracts world-renowned film crews, A-list pro skiers and wise vacationers each and every season. “Revelstoke is still close enough to the coast that it benefits from maritime snow,” says duPont, “but by the time it comes up the Columbia [River] it’s dried out just enough to create the blower pow that we dream of. It sticks and it’s cold and fluffy at the same time.” Revy’s other outstanding draw is its access to said snow; the ease with which skiers can enjoy the various terrain offerings is, frankly, unparalleled.
Here, we touch on just a few of the popular ways in which skiers can tap the well.
Revelstoke Mountain Resort
To properly start a day within the resort confines, enjoy warm up laps on The Stoke; underneath this lift you’ll find “side hits” and natural transitions all over the place. Keep your eyes and ears open for news regarding the opening of areas like North Bowl and Separate Reality; these neighboring zones are accessible via a quick hike. The former serves up cliffs galore while the latter boasts tree skiing that’ll make you giddy. Across the way, Gracias Ridge splits the North and Greely bowls and is home to butt-puckering chutes, cliffs and wind lips. And that’s just a small sampling of the burly inbounds territory; a mere seven percent of the terrain is categorized as “beginner.”
Revelstoke’s 5,620 feet of vert tops the charts in North America. As such, duPont suggests you “challenge your friends to a top-to-bottom race at the end of the day.” From the top of The Stoke you have one hell of a descent down to the base via one of the most leg-burning trails on the continent: Pitch Black.
Cat-skiing via RMR
A typical day of cat-skiing at RMR looks something like this: Gather at the rental shop; meet your guides; load the Revelation gondi and proceed up the Stoke Chair; engage in backcountry orientation and avalanche beacon training; hop in the cat’s cozy cabin, complete with rockin’ tunes and laugh your ass off with everyone onboard. Once at the go-zone, put your game face on; shred your brains out in the likes of South, Montana and Kokanee Bowl; later, chow lunch with the squad; then, ski your heart out again; crush après and keep the party going all night long.
“The laps are super easy and efficient,” says duPont. “You ski your last run all the way down to the lodge at the bottom of the hill… the whole experience is kind of like having your own private mountain resort.”
Heli-skiing via RMR
Revelstoke’s Selkirk Tangiers Heli Skiing (STHS) operation bases out of the Hillcrest Hotel. (Fun fact: Revelstoke is the only resort in the world to offer lift, heli-skiing and cat-skiing from a central base village.) Servicing a tenure that borders Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks, STHS accesses tits-deep snow blanketing massive, open glaciers, beautiful alpine meadows and towering old-growth forests. Take your pick from any of 200-plus named runs within STHS’ 500,000 acres, touching both the Selkirks and the Monashees. Runs vary from 1,600 vertical feet in length to over 7,000 vert, and there’s something for everyone—mellow to gnar.
It seems like every truck in Revelstoke has a sled in its bed or riding in a trailer. “I think there might be more slednecks in Revy than skiers and snowboarders,” suspects duPont. Reason being: Revelstoke is home to a never-ending network of logging roads, providing amazing sled access in the wintertime. While nobody in their right mind will tell you exactly where to go—there’s an unwritten code of respect regarding protection of these coveted sled-ski zones—just know the goods are out there waiting for you to find ‘em. Search on your own or do your best to befriend some locals. Play your cards right and someone might just guide you to the gates of powder heaven. As always, tread carefully out there.
Just a few short minutes up the road from Revelstoke—towards Golden on the Trans-Canada Highway—lies Rogers Pass, home to “some of the biggest, most daunting ski touring terrain in the world,” as duPont appropriately describes it. Summertime hiking trails will lead you to most of the popular shred zones. You can choose to switchback straight up to rowdy lines or snake along the valley floor to far-away glaciers. Tracks laid (almost always) at the pass’ summit will lead you to classic tree skiing and pillow opportunities within about an hour. Hike for a couple of hours from pretty much any of the parking lots on the Pass and you’ll emerge in the beautiful alpine where you’ll find a buffet of tasty lines. Note: You must have a permit to ski the Pass. Permits for skiers are free, but you’ll need to buy a parking pass for your rig. Call the friendly folks at Rogers Pass Discovery Centre for more info.
Ski, Eat, Sleep, Repeat
Take the ferry over to the Halcyon Hot Springs. Your body will most likely be wrecked after a few days of shredding The Stoke. You deserve to soak.
The Village Idiot Bar and Grill has the best pizza in town. They play ski and snowboard films all night long and everything, even the ketchup, is homemade. Show up early because it’s probably the most popular spot in Revy.
Sutton Place, located at the base of the ski hill, is a plush, convenient spot to stay in Revy. Ideal location, amazing rooms, great food and fantastic service. Or, you can always just park your truck at the base of the ski hill and sleep in your rig. It’s free and you can pretty much guarantee first chair on those epic pow days. You might just see guys like Karl Fostvedt, John Spriggs and Thayne Rich who have been known to shack up in the parking lot for weeks on end. It’s the ultimate staging area to some of the best skiing in the world. So, you feeling Revelstoke-d?
Grams de ‘stoke